2 weeks after pollution forced them shut, schools open to low turnout

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Gurgaon: Both private and government schools opened for physical classes on Friday since they had closed gates on November 13 over rising pollution levels in the city. The first day, however, saw only a few students, with low attendance recorded across schools.
“The first day saw a mixed response from parents and students. While a few schools, especially the senior section ones, saw a healthy turnout, the attendance in others was a little disappointing. We hope that the strength of students in the schools improve in the coming days,” said an education department official.
With the air quality hovering in the ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories, the schools had remained closed for nearly two weeks. Initially, physical classes were suspended only for a week, but the administration last week extended the suspension until further notice. However, a late evening order issued by deputy commissioner Yash Garg on Thursday lifted the suspension and allowed educational institutions to start calling students back to school. Several private schools and their associations welcomed the move, but it has received a subdued response from students and parents.
On Friday, only a few students turned up at the schools, with most choosing to continue with online classes. Schools across the city recorded 30-50% attendance.
“The attendance was poor. Only a handful of kids came for the classes, with most of them choosing not to come. It is primarily because the order came late in the evening. Although we circulated messages in the Whatsapp groups, many parents and students might not have seen them or have chosen to take a day or two before restarting school,” said Asha Miglani, the principal of Model Sanskriti School.
The order took parents and schools by surprise. While many parents were not aware of the new order until Friday morning, others preferred to check on the air quality over the weekend before sending their kids back to schools. Some parents were not in town and had gone for trips, assuming that schools might not reopen before Monday.
“We were anticipating that schools may open around November 26. So, we had informed the parents. But today, we saw only 30% students attending school. Parents are taking it slow before responding to the order. Also, due to the wedding season, perhaps, a few are out of town for the weekend,” said Rashmi Malik, the Salwan Public School principal.
Meanwhile, some schools chose not to reopen on Friday and would open from Monday instead. “We received the order late in the evening. At such short notice, informing all the parents, bus drivers, and the other staff would have been too hasty. So, we have decided to gear up during the weekend and resume classes from Monday,” said Aparna Erry, principal, DAV Public School, Sector 14.
Credit Source – https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/2-weeks-after-pollution-forced-them-shut-schools-open-to-low-turnout/articleshow/87939580.cms

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